Posted by: columbiahighlands | August 25, 2011

Bodie Mountain

Dominated by open, park-like stands of enormous, deeply furrowed Douglas-fir and ridges whose sides plunge down steep, rocky canyons, Bodie Mountain Roadless Area is known to but a few sportsmen and the white-tailed deer they pursue.

Old-growth Douglas-fir dominates the steep, grassy slopes of Bodie Mountain. Photo: Aaron Theisen.

Here, just a few miles north of Republic, the Old West still lives. From the rocky, sagebrush-covered knobs one can peer out over the remains of ghost towns, the only vestiges from boom times over a century old. Bodie Mountain Roadless Area also contains large swaths of old-growth Douglas-fir forest, a forest type that is common on the Rocky Mountain Front but incredibly rare in Washington.

Aspens line many of the draws on Bodie Mountain, providing critical wildlife habitat. Photo: Aaron Theisen.

Although the roadless area is relatively small, wildlife abound. The open-understory forest provides prime feeding and breeding habitat for mule deer, and in the springtime black bears can be seen pawing through the balsamroot blooms for the nutritious roots underneath. Several seasonal and permanent ponds dot the ridgeline, proof that even the driest of eastside habitats offer oases for wildlife.

The open slopes of Bodie Mountain invite cross-country exploration. Photo: Aaron Theisen.

The ridge that runs from Bodie to Bamber Mountain forms the spine of the area and offers 360-degree views. To the west, the broad ridgeline of Bonaparte, and on the distant horizon, the Cascades. To the north, the prominent peaks of the Monashees in British Columbia. And to the east, the panorama of the Kettle Range.

Although remains of old Forest Service trails can be found with careful exploration, the open slopes are perfect for striking out on your own. The gold has long since been carted away, but you are sure to strike it rich in views, wildlife and solitude.

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